Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blue Gold - World Water Wars

In nine parts or if you subscribe to Netflix, Streaming

Private enterprise plays a role in delivering clean water and there may be a profit motive there. But water belongs to all of us, not to private enterprise.

Black Swan Events and Crimes against humanity

The Black Swan Theory or "Theory of Black Swan Events" was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain: 1) the disproportionate role of high-impact, hard to predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance and technology, 2) the non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to their very nature of small probabilities) and 3) the psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs. Unlike the earlier philosophical "black swan problem", the "Black Swan Theory" (capitalized) refers only to unexpected events of large magnitude and consequence and their dominant role in history. Such events, considered extreme outliers, collectively play vastly larger roles than regular occurrences.

Taleb's ten principles for a black swan robust world
Taleb enumerates ten principles for building systems that are robust to Black Swan Events:[10]

1.What is fragile should break early while it is still small. Nothing should ever become Too Big to Fail.
2.No socialisation of losses and privatisation of gains.
3.People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus.
4.Do not let someone making an "incentive" bonus manage a nuclear plant – or your financial risks.
5.Counter-balance complexity with simplicity.
6.Do not give children sticks of dynamite, even if they come with a warning.
7.Only Ponzi schemes should depend on confidence. Governments should never need to "restore confidence".
8.Do not give an addict more drugs if he has withdrawal pains.
9.Citizens should not depend on financial assets or fallible "expert" advice for their retirement.
10.Make an omelet with the broken eggs.

Black swan theory
By letting oil and coal companies get rich while they pollute with impunity, and we scramble to repair the damage (or pretend it isn't happening) we socialize the loss, while the profits are going to private enterprise. 

What would another Katrina do to New Orleans? Yet Louisiana's leadership is turning a blind eye to how vulnerable much of that state is to sea level rise.

Vitter of sea-rise-threatened Louisiana: “I do not think the science clearly supports global warming theory”

The international community does not have a word for this type of crime yet, but the international community should find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity.
A New Kind of Crime Against Humanity?: The Fossil Fuel Industry's Disinformation Campaign On Climate Change

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Interview with David Suzuki

HT Climate Portals

I see climate change. I think it's not just our great grandchildren who will be impacted. Anybody with a couple decades of life left to them will see a different world. How different? That's up to us.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

All his videos are excellent.
greenman3610's Channel

And there's more on his blog
Climate Denial Crock of the Week
with Peter Sinclair

Dan Miller: A Really Inconvenient Truth: Why Climate Change is Much Worse Than You’ve Been Told

Relocalization etc.

Relocalization aspires to regain balance with the natural environment and to form communities where each person is recognized and has a place. Human development has been stunted by the hyper-individualism induced by growth economics, a world view driving our politics and casting us as manipulated economic units. Relocalization was called decentralization by E. F. Schumacher in "Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered" (1973). He said that largeness and some forms of centralized control -- in business and government -- lead to an arrogance where nobody is at home, where there's no human warmth: a Wizard of Oz absenteeism. Schumacher called for a revaluation of the local to allow warmth, creativity, intimacy and trust to thrive.

In Close Proximity: Relocalization to the rescue

HT The Oil Drum

Like the Locavore movement.

In the mean time there are some candidates running for office who want more "hyper-individualism induced by growth economics".

Vote your conscience.

From August

The Global Warming Nightmare Scenario Is Happening Right Now

Read more:

Must watch

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Guns, Germs and Steel

This is in 18 segments on YouTube, it's also available on Watch Instantly if you subscribe to Netflix.

This is relevant to this site because it highlights how our environment can be an advantage, or a disadvantage to the development of technology.

There are those who fail to appreciate that without a benign Mother Nature, we are no more.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

While the world burns

The Brian Lehrer Show

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No reason given - update

The Air Force lost partial communications with 50 nuclear missiles this weekend for almost an hour, an Air Force spokesman said.

Were any UFOs in the area?

Insanity has gripped out political system

Barrasso’s Nuclear Idiocy


Solar Energy Can Generate 4.2% of U.S. Power Supplies by 2020


Meanwhile the new normal:

The National Weather Service said the system's pressure reading Tuesday was the lowest ever in a non-tropical storm in the mainland U.S. If confirmed, that would be worse than the pressure that produced the Blizzard of 1978, the March 1993 "Storm of the Century" or the November 1975 storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald freighter, memorialized in a song by Gordon Lightfoot.
Tom Skilling, a meteorologist with WGN-TV in Chicago, said the size of the storm — 31 states were under some sort of weather advisory, from blizzards to thunderstorms to tornadoes — also was unusual

Massive windstorm howls across nation's midsection

About a fifth of the world's vertebrates are threatened with extinction, a major review has found, highlighting the plight of nature that is the focus of global environment talks underway in Japan.
Fifth of vertebrates face extinction-study

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I doubt their sincerity

HT ThinkProgress

Right now the TEA party candidates are talking about eliminating the VA, the Dept of Education, FDA and Social Security. They oppose government intervention in providing health care for all, and they claim to believe the private sector could manage all this better than government. Forgive me but I doubt their sincerity. At the end of the video he blames government for allowing drilling at 5000 ft of water in the gulf. Insanely inconsistent... on the one hand he wants no regulation and on the other blames government for not having enough regulation, in two consecutive sentences. If you read it differently, leave a comment.

In my memory I can recall just off the top of my head where government stepped in to protect us. Sometimes more effectively than others, but in not one single instance was government responsible for the disaster.

* Polio epidemic
* Thalidomide
* Lead paint and leaded gas
* Smog
* Burning rivers
* Ruined fisheries
* Ozone hole
* Endangered species
* Asbestos
* Flu vaccines
* Mining and Oil disasters
* Acid rain

I want to hope that governments around the world can save us from the damage we've done to the climate by spewing teratons of C02 into the atmosphere.

So far many of us are getting on board as individuals. The sales of the Pruis have been phenomenal. We're conserving energy as best we can. Those who can afford it are retrofitting their homes with energy efficient stuff. Some businesses are doing the same (e.g. Walmart).
We need to continue to do that. We must be part of the solution.

We can't trust private enterprise to dig into their bottom line for the benefit of mankind. Private enterprise has no conscience. The stockholders might rebel, and force it, but so often the stock holders with leverage are not worried about climate change as much as they are about their profits. The industries we need to tow the line the most are those least inclined to, such as Oil and Coal (Shell and Exxon are doing some stuff).

That means government regulations. Put a price on carbon to motivate private enterprise to reduce emissions.
That means government subsidies for alternative sources of energy.
That means government investment in breakthrough carbon capture technologies

In 20 years the world is going to be a different place. It could be worse than now, it might be better.   We the people can put our votes where there is support for making it a better place.

No on 23 for one. California is the model for dealing with air pollution. There are clear skies over LA today.  It was a brown haze 30 years ago. California has real successes under its belt. Watch while AB32 becomes a model not only for this country but around the world, for cutting C02 emissions.

Watched Silent Running again (Netflix streaming). Timeless.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Big Green Tent

Richard Cizik

Since 2003, Cizik has been active in a type of environmentalism he calls "creation care"; his stance on global warming has drawn both support and criticism from fellow Evangelicals.

Climate hawks are not retreaded hippies, militant environmentalists or socialist. Climate hawks are not democrats, republicans or libertarians. We are people who are concerned about the impact burning fossil fuels has had on the climate. We want to do something about it before it is too late.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Providence (god) helps those who help themselves

I think lurking behind the thoughts of climate change denialists is belief and religion. Of course nothing is inherently wrong with the influence of faith. Most would agree the spirituality of Gandhi and Mandela informed and improved their humanity. But religious influence will also blind a person to what is clearly apparent to others not filtering there observations through that parochial lens. This comes to a division between the authoritarian ( father knows best ) view of knowledge and communitarian view ( it takes a village ). Many religious people though they think God is almighty also take seriously the old adage 'God helps those who help themselves'. Maybe spreading this kind of sentiment around the ranks of believers would be of some help. Though I have not imagined so far how to go about this.


I read my Bible. He made this earth for us to utilize.” — Norman Dennison, founder of the Corydon Tea Party

“Being a strong Christian, I cannot help but believe the Lord placed a lot of minerals in our country and it’s not there to destroy us.” — Lisa

Tea Party Defends Climate Pollution As Lord’s Will

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Enemies of the people?

Republican [gubernatorial candidate] Gary Herbert is a global warming denier:

I’ve heard people argue on both sides of the issue, people I have a high regard for. People say man’s impact is minimal, if at all, so it appears to me the science is not necessarily conclusive. [Deseret News, 6/16/09
Governors Races: Losing The Western Climate Initiative

Galileo suffered at the hands of the mainstream philosophers and ultimately the church. He was condemned for heresy, his books were banned, and he was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life in 1633.

While today's climate scientists like Dr. James Hansen and Dr Michael Mann are not under house arrest, their reputations have been attacked relentlessly by the denier crowd.

Then as now, the common people relied on the mainstream for their information. Then as now, they were mislead or deceived.

The 'science is not conclusive' mime was used to keep people smoking for decades. How many died? Did anybody go to prison for it?

In this case, climate change, the potential for mass death, human and otherwise is unprecedented. These people are asking to be elected leaders. Shouldn't some responsibility go along with that? Shouldn't they be held to a higher standard? Shouldn't they be held accountable for the damage done because they prevented progress toward a sustainable future?

History is rife with mainstream resisting new science.
  • Sister Kenny and her polio treatments
  • Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and his hand washing regimen.
  • Alfred Lothar Wegener and continental drift
Another analogy is the play Enemy of the People.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Extreme Droughts Ahead

"We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community," said National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist and study team member Aiguo Dai. "If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous."
Extreme Drought Ahead, Scientists Predict

How many times do we have to hear this before we start doing something about climate change?
There's a poll at the site. About 30% think we're doomed, 30% think we'll adapt and 30% think the model is wrong. Go figure.

Reality Prevails

In a Senate debate, Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said climate legislation would ruin “the entire country,” and Republican John Raese called global warming a “myth,” saying “what we have to do is find more coal.
The WonkLine: October 19, 2010

However reality prevails.

For January–September 2010, the global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 14.1°C (57.5°F) and tied with 1998 as the warmest January–September period on record.
NOAA reports 2010 hottest year on record so far*

Recessions can last decades

Japan has been in a crippling recession for over 15 years.
That's where we may be headed.
Japan's experience beginning in the early 1990s underscores the risk of getting into a long period of sustained disinflation. Japan fell into deflation in the mid-1990s and has yet to recover.
Mary C. Daly, vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, states her views on the current economy and the outlook.

HT Just Call Him Bernanke-sama - Paul Krugman

What do you think a gas shortage would do to our economy right now?

Meanwhile La Nina has delivered the weirdest summer and fall I can recall in SoCal. It's raining again!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Contempt wins no hearts and no minds.

Last week, a generic right-wing propagandist named S.E. Cupp appeared on Bill Maher's show, spewing what to a certain breed of climate denialist has become a favorite misdirection. They don't flat out deny the science, although they certainly don't acknowledge the gravity of what the science tells us; but they attempt to pretend that the real question isn't whether or not anthropogenic climate change is occurring, rather it's whether or not we can afford to deal with it. But any excuse for not dealing with it is but a different flavor of the same. It all boils down to ignoring the depth of the crisis so the fossil fuels industries can churn right along, reaping massive profits from the destruction of the biosphere.
Climate change is an economic crisis

The author, Laurence Lewis, is also in denial I'm afraid. We need to recognize that human beings, like any other animal, attend to immediate needs first.  When environmentalists show contempt for basic human nature, they don't help the cause.

Remember that video that went over like a lead balloon, where doubtful kids got blown up? That's an attitude I am seeing more and more of. Let's not take that road. All that will result from it is to entrench the doubtful.

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than the arguments of its opposers.
-William Penn

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Look what's goin' down

Time for the people to wake up again and demand our government do the right thing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The party is over

ICF expects the U.S. power sector will add 340 gigawatts of new generation by 2030, not only to meet growing demand, but to replace 75 GW of coal-fired generation that will be forced to shut due to stricter air, water and waste regulation
ANALYSIS - U.S. power supply inadequate for economic recovery

There is a battle brewing among conservationist and environmentalists concerning nuclear power. I challenge the reader to find up to date comparisons on the relative costs of wind, solar, nuclear and fossil fuel power generation.
This is kind of old
Load-Resource Balance in
the Western Interconnection:
Towards 2020
page 21.
Also, I don't know if anybody has calculated the true costs (cradle to cradle) of any of them. We may not know how.

And finally, an excellent article that speaks of the coming permanent recession (no growth).
So, while Obama talked climate change in Copenhagen, he pushed for accelerated growth and consumption, emphasising such climate-deadly industries as private automobile production, new road construction, nuclear power generation, and continued coal extraction (including horrendous "mountain top removal") while extolling an entirely theoretical "clean coal". He was also for expanding manufacture of heavy industrial equipment, and for more export-oriented industrial agriculture, as well as "new housing starts", increased oil drilling in deepwater zones – such as BP's – and for deadly tar sands development, all in hopes of growth, profit and jobs.

Watching his performance from a distance, we really don't know if he understands the contradictions in this pattern, how one goal cancels the other, or if he has simply made a "safer" political choice. If so, it's safer only in the very short run, as the entire economic system, and possibly industrial-consumer society itself, face intrinsic systemic problems, which may not be solvable. Trying to save an old economic model that is near collapse, he may sacrifice the opportunity to mitigate climate change and save the world.

But the conclusion is clear. From here on, no one gets off easy. Everyone's in the same boat, caught in the same systemic conflict. The conundrums apply as much to Morales as to Cameron and Obama. Growth is over, and they need a real, clear vision of a way forward. That's true for all of us. Surely it's time to agree that the first step is to start drawing curtains on an obsolete, out-of-date system that could kill us all, and to shape a new one. Which brings us to the good news.
Climate change v capitalism: the feast is almost over

This is the first I've seen that outlines steps we can take to transition to a sustainable economic model. It will require that mankind understands that Mother Nature has veto power.

My other concern about the above article is it seems to think capitalism is the cause of our problems.

Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for a private profit; decisions regarding supply, demand, price, distribution, and investments are made by private actors in the market rather than by central planning by the government; profit is distributed to owners who invest in businesses, and wages are paid to workers employed by businesses and companies.

But I think the main problem isn't the private enterprise, free market model that is capitalism, but is the fact that we the people have allowed private ownership (or pollution) of resources that are "held in common", stuff like air and water that belongs to us all. Also, when the Supreme Court grants a corporation "person hood", even though it has no conscience and takes no personal responsibility for its actions, that is a real problem. So it's not the model, it's the execution. In the end the US will have to accept a more European model... one that recognizes that our government needs to protect us from greedy sociopathic corporations.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peak Oil

Said in so many words the coming oil shortage will cause recession... and worse (about half way through)!

Can Oil Production Meet Rising Global Demand? from Laura Parsons on Vimeo.

HT The Oil Drum

Dr. Hersh seems to think this is more serious than climate change. I don't agree... it is just more immediate.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What I'm thinking about

I find this subject to be related to our collective failure to become sustainable.
I couldn't say this any better so here is a quote from Robert Bly.


Mass society, with its demand for work without responsibility, creates a gigantic army of rival, envious siblings. Their chief conflict is characterized, not by oedipal rivalry, struggling with the father for the privileges of liberty and power, but by sibling envy directed at neighbors and competitors who have more than they.

-- Alexander Mitscherlich, Society Without the Father (translated by Eric Mosbacher)

Kierkegaard considered the present age to be one of thought, brooding, and considering, rather than action: “This reflective tension ultimately constitutes itself into a principle, and just as in a passionate age enthusiasm is the unifying principle, so in an age which is very reflective and passionless envy is the negative unifying principle.”

In the sibling society, people adopt false selves in order to be more like one another, in order to be invisible, agreeable, and passionless. “Go along and get along.” There is very little praise. “People come and go in the Tate,/Saying Michelangelo is not that great.”

Some falsify the self to bring it in line with the irresistible sibling unreality. When people talk, they talk of personal failures, but usually avoid other deep anxieties, for example, over the fate of children or of the earth itself. Oprah Winfrey does not offer shows titled “People Who Fought for Wetlands and Lost.”

-- Robert Bly, The Sibling Society

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Having one's head in the sand does not improve the view.

A conservative perspective
The No. 1 variable affecting our economy today is the decision by our government, from the late 1960s to 1985, to promote zero-population growth, with the number of births decreasing. The birthrate fell from 2.3 children per family to 1.3 at times. To maintain a population, a birthrate of 2.1 children is required. That decreased birthrate has impacted everything from demand for products to health-care costs to relaxed immigration laws and Social Security shortfalls
Government intervention caused the problem; more government intervention will not solve the problem.

Instead, we need to reject the liberal programs. We need to reject their health-care insurance plan, their cap-and-trade environment plan and their growth-of-government plan.

We need to get back to having babies. We need to get back to "growing" America without government restrictions. And if our children do not listen to this, then their problems in 30 more years will be even greater than those we face today.

No. 1 economic problem: Not enough babies

Having one's head in the sand does not improve the view. :-)

However zero population growth does have its downside
Failing to address the challenges of an aging population will endanger the country's economic future, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a gathering of business and union leaders in Rhode Island Monday night.
Fed chairman: aging population puts U.S. economy on 'unsustainable path'

I keep commenting at the The Conscience of a Liberal asking Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman about economic models for a static population... but he hasn't addressed the problem.

I googled for some time looking for recent papers on how to transition to a sustainable economy.   I found definitions of a sustainable economy, I found ideas to create one, but nothing that describes the steps to morph our current growth dependent economy into a sustainable one.  I suspect we'll not take steps... we'll fall into it.  I don't know about you, but I'd like to be prepared. What should I do? I don't know, and that's the rub.

Some really good info here: World Population Awareness

Update... watch this!


Nothing new today. The 6th extinction event continues unabated, while the world's leader dither.

The MSM is still stuck with the idea that if people don't want to hear it, it isn't happening.

Bravo that the Chilean miners are getting rescued.

As the planet dies, and we do nothing, I think that says a lot about what it means to be human.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can you feel it?

I bet all of you reading this saw Avatar.

Perhaps there are two kinds of people. Those who can connect to the ecosystem's network, and those who can't.

I pity those who can’t. They are deaf without realizing it, and some (such as WUWT) are making fools of themselves as a consequence.

I pity those who can, because we feel the grief and rage and it is getting intolerable. To reference another great film: we're feeling 'a great disturbance in the force' as we lose forests and herds, and species after species.

So when you spot a Golden Eagle do you feel a thrill? Does walking through a forest give you a sense of peace? Does reading the news about the loss of pine forests in the US and Canada cause you grief?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lighter side

Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds change color and fall from the trees."

— David Letterman

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"

— Lee Iacocca, CEO/Chairman, Chrysler Corporation, 1979-1992

"There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all."

— Robert Orben
"Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

— Kenneth Boulding
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society."

— Mark Twain

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Don't worry

We will run out of fossil fuels before we turn our planet into Venus.
Are you reassured? Think again.
We'd expect our leaders to help us prepare for the changes ahead. They aren't so you need to.
What will you do?

Sustainable Civilization?

This is true
As Joanne Nova, Australian author, points out: “Everything on your dinner table - the meat, cheese, salad, bread, and soft drink - requires carbon dioxide to be there. For those of you who believe carbon dioxide is a pollutant, we have a special diet: water and salt.” So the next time you drink a beer or eat a meal, beware of that “dangerous carbon pollution.”
Dangerous Carbon Pollution: Propaganda from Climatism

The link is to an article written by denier Steve Goreham
This “carbon pollution” nonsense is driven by Climatism
He quotes a truth in an effort to instill doubt and/or fear, a typical technique.

It also highlights the difficulties we face to save life on Earth. We rely on fossil fuels to such a degree, weaning ourselves off of it will require a Herculean effort. It will require we give up stuff we think we need (but don't). It will require effort at the  community level all the way to global (via UN?). We need to find a successful model for sustainable civilization. Is there such a thing?

Friday, October 8, 2010

One face of climate change

Cliff Harris, the Meterologist/Climatologist, who writes for the press is predicting a world wide food shortage next year. With food crops in Pakistan, Russia, China and elsewhere, having been decimated by drought and flooding, there will be less food exported by these countries. The price of food is expected to rise significantly. The last few weeks, the price of wheat has gone up by 25% I’m told. Some people have already started their food storage at home. It’s hard to imagine a time when things are so bad, that we have to rely on food storage to get us through the hard times, but most of us didn’t live through the Great Depression either.
Kage: Harris Predicts Food Shortage

LONDON: Large-scale crop failures are likely to become more common in the wake of climate change and lead to spiralling prices.

Rising temperatures could trigger events such as the wheat crisis in Russia this summer which pushed up food prices, researchers from the Universities of Leeds, Exter and the Met Office said.

Scientists warned that rising temperatures would make crops mature more quickly, reducing their yield, while extreme temperatures could also significantly reduce yields, according to the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Food prices may soar due to global warming

Grain prices surge as US slashes forecast

AIM said dry conditions early in the year and a plague of locusts followed by flooding along the banks of the Zambezi are to blame for the situation
The local government had initially expected Mulima to bring in a harvest of 5,996 tonnes, but only 2,594 tonnes were harvested. The losses affect about 2,675 households.
More than 13,000 people face hunger in Mozambique's Chemba district

GUDINCHIN, Nigeria — After water nearly overtook his village in northern Nigeria, Ali Gudinchin jumped into the rushing flood with a knife, cutting away ears of corn from stalks barely rising above the muddy surface.

He ended up with only three sacks worth of food, compared to the 50-odd bags of grains and vegetables he typically grows during the arid region's brief fertile season.
Flooding in Nigeria worsens food shortage

NFC has not been able to transport food to the districts as roads connecting the districts have been obstructed in various places due to the rains and the government has not sanctioned money for transporting rice by helicopter
Western hilly districts face food shortage ahead of Dashain

Ominous clouds hang over Tanzania food supplies in the next four months due to the forecasted inadequate 'short rains' that is expected to hit 16 out of 26 regions and parts of Zanzibar and Pemba islands.
East Africa: Food Shortage Feared in Tanzania

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Crash Course

Our debt markets assume that the future will be (much) larger than the present.
Crash Course Lesson 12

This is very interesting and apropos to this blog. I listened to lessons 1 through 12, but I think readers will be able to get what this guy is saying without spending the time learning some of the details... so start with 12 and see how it goes.

This guy's predictions have not come to pass. He is, never the less, correct that something's gotta give, and it will likely occur in the next 20 years.

HT The Oil Drum
and The End of the World (as We Know It) Is Nigh

And this is worth reposting

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pesky Laws

The Terminator, a k a the Governator, is not happy. And you shouldn’t be either.

What has Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California incensed is the fact that two Texas oil companies with two refineries each in California are financing a campaign to roll back California’s landmark laws to slow global warming and promote clean energy innovation, because it would require the refiners to install new emission-control tools. At a time when President Obama and Congress have failed to pass a clean energy bill, California’s laws are the best thing we have going to stimulate clean-tech in America. We don’t want them gutted. C’mon in. This is a fight worth having
The real joke is thinking that if California suspends its climate laws that Mother Nature will also take a timeout. “We can wait to solve this problem as long as we want,” says Nate Lewis, an energy chemist at the California Institute of Technology: “But Nature is balancing its books every day. It was a record 113 degrees in Los Angeles the other day. There are laws of politics and laws of physics. Only the latter can’t be repealed.”
The Terminator vs. Big Oil by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Uncertainty of our Future

of how much warming is likely between 1990, the baseline year for most IPCC work, and 2100.
The current AR4 report says it will be between 1.8 and 4.0 degrees Celsius (3 to 7 degrees F). But the betting is now that the range offered next time will be wider, especially at the top end.
On Climate Models, the Case For Living with Uncertainties By Fred Pearce

Well, yeah, that is greater uncertainty. But it's also worse! They tell us if Earth warms over 2C we can expect very serious consequences. more here

Pearce concludes
We are all — authors and readers of IPCC reports alike — going to have to get used to greater caution in IPCC reports and greater uncertainty in imagining exactly how climate change will play out. This is probably healthy. It is certainly more honest. But it in no way undermines the case that we are already observing ample evidence that the world is on the threshold of profound and potentially catastrophic warming. And it in no way undermines the urgent need to do something to halt the forces behind the warming..

More honest? Is he saying the IPCC has been dishonest? At what point does one become so cautious that the truth is lost?

I am having a hard time getting into the author's head. Reviews of his latest book The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet's Surprising Future indicate he might be a bit of a Pollyanna. So his interpretation of uncertainty in current climate models is that climate change may not be so bad as the 2007 IPCC predicted.

Today's reality has already surpassed the 2007 IPCC, so his optimism is misplaced IMHO.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

The United States is saddled with a rapidly decaying and woefully underfunded transportation system that will undermine its status in the global economy unless Congress and the public embrace innovative reforms, a bipartisan panel of experts concludes in a report released Monday
Failing U.S. transportation system will imperil prosperity, report finds

The strains to our transmission system have been evident for some time.

"The U. S. transmission system is under tremendous strain and only marginally stable," Wayne Brunetti, the former chief executive officer of Xcel Energy, observed in 2002. "It was designed as a regional system and has been forced to function as a national system, a function for which it was not designed and does not handle very well," he said.

The problem is that, nearly 10 years later, what Brunetti said is still true.
The US Electric Grid: Will it be Our Undoing? - Revisited

As ThinkProgress has noted, there are currently two competing visions of governance in the United States. One, the conservative vision, believes in the on-your-own society, and informs a policy agenda that primarily serves the well off and privileged sectors of the country. The other vision, the progressive one, believes in an American Dream that works for all people, regardless of their racial, religious, or economic background.
Tennessee County’s Subscription-Based Firefighters Watch As Family Home Burns Down

At least one in four children was poor in nearly 190 counties in 39 states in 2009, a time of severe recession. In 33 counties in 17 states, at least one in three children was living in poverty. The American Community Survey for 2009, released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau, shows rising poverty in the majority of states, with children much more likely to be poor than other age groups.
Help Needed Now for Growing Number of Children in Poverty
The worst consequences of climate change are likely to unfold only over decades or centuries — in other words, in our children’s or grandchildren’s or great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren’s lifetimes, not ours. The decision of how much to spend now to avert climate changes hinges on assessing how much it is worth to us now to prevent that future damage. Since most of us would prefer money now over money later, economists typically figure that we’re willing to spend only less than a dollar now to prevent a dollar’s worth of damage in a year, or in a decade. The percentage less is called the “social discount rate.”
'Discounting' the future cost of climate change

The worst consequences of climate change is extinction.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Black Cross Movement

Across coal ash sites, coal-fired plants and coal mines in Illinois, black crosses are quickly emerging as haunting reminders of the human and environmental toll of coal on the region. Signs have been left with the quotation:

You shall not press upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns.
You shall not crucify us any longer upon a cross of coal.
Imminent Danger: Black Cross Movement Hits Big Coal Giants and Global Forum in St. Louis and Midwest Jeff Biggers.Author

Black crosses that appeared Monday in several locations throughout Southern Illinois were the work of an environmental group in protest of the mining and burning of coal for energy.
Local group protests coal use

Just as southern Illinois-born populist William Jennings Bryan stirred the nation in 1896 with his famous “Cross of Gold” speech, the Black Cross Alliance calls on the Obama administration and the state of Illinois to halt billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for multinational coal corporations, and bring an end to the scandalous coal wars in Illinois by re-investing in a sustainable energy policy for the future.

The Black Cross Alliance declares: You shall not crucify us any longer upon a cross of coal.
Black Crosses Continue to Rise Across Coal Belt as Warning

12 Monkeys?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Deceive, Inveigle and Obfuscate

It is amazing to me that there are people who will argue that the climate change we are currently enduring is natural... or that it isn't happening at all.
It's one thing to believe in creation rather than evolution. That hurts no one. (Not so good to enforce your beliefs on the education system but again, nobody dies). In this instance, however, lives depend on getting this right!

Twenty two years ago Dr. James Hansen revealed to congress that by burning fossil fuels we were endangering climate stability. That should have been a wake up call, but it was ignored. Now, 22 years later, it's in our face, it's costing lives, it is bankrupting countries (like Pakistan) and it is way way ahead of schedule. Many of my previous posts reference articles that describe atypical weather events that can be ascribed to climate change and yet the "journalists" fail to mention that fact. The "free press" is not doing its job.

If you are reading this blog you are likely to understand the catastrophe we face, but unless we can get the general public (globally!) to understand what is at stake, I fear we will not take action in time to save life on earth as we know it. No kidding! Perhaps the end of the world as we know it.

Those that are bought by Big Oil and Big Coal (they may not know it) will continue to Deceive, Inveigle and Obfuscate. They are trolls. Ignore them, they are at best irrelevant and at worst Bad Samaritans.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Huge chunk of East Coast flooded

East Coast downpour swamps roads, brings rescues

Welcome to the new normal. Story did not mention climate change.

The deluge that started on Wednesday set records in several areas, said Dan Peterson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"Multiple rainfall records have been set for parts of New York, eastern Pennsylvania and North Carolina," he said.
Meteorologist Tim Armstrong with the National Weather Service in Wilmington declared the 22.54 inches to be the rainiest five-day period there that he could find on record since 1871. It easily beat Hurricane Floyd's 19.06 inches in 1999.
'Nightmare' of rain, flooding in Northeast
Still no mention of climate change.

Bad Samaritans and Bad News

I don't believe there are many sincere climate 'skeptics' still out there. Those who choose to misinform and deceive their listeners are doing so because of a political or economic (read greed) agenda. It disgusts me. They have they turned traitor to the planet and all that lives on it... for purely selfish reasons, or willful ignorance. They are bad Samaritans.

The truth is out there. The situation is worse than predicted. For 150 years we have spewed megaton after megaton of CO2 into our atmosphere. As our understanding evolves we are discovering that all that CO2 has set in motion a set of events that could actually lead to our extinction! The CO2 will remain there for centuries if we let it.

I also find it amusing that there is still stiff opposition to nuclear power. Their main argument is a good one... what do you do with the waste? But what do we do with the waste produced by fossil fuel powered plants? At this point is it any less lethal? If we are to preserve anything close to our current way of life (while helping others achieve it) we must find ways to generate and deliver terawatts of carbon free power within the next decade or two. That will require use of all alternatives, including nuclear.

And we're going to need carbon capture to scrub some of the CO2 our of the atmosphere.

Professor Turney said: “The results here are quite startling and, importantly, they suggest sea levels will rise significantly higher than anticipated and that stabilizing global average temperatures at 2˚C above pre-industrial levels may not be considered a ‘safe’ target as envisaged by the European Union and others.

"The inevitable conclusion is emission targets will have to be lowered further still.”
Exeter scientists publish climate change warning

To add to our woes, peak oil is here or just around the corner.

There may be blood.